CLEVELAND, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its Lake Erie search for a missing small airplane carrying an Ohio beverage company executive, his family and family friends.
Coast Guard officials said they spent about 20 hours and covered some 128 square miles in the lake in the search for the aircraft. Superior Beverage Group president and CEO John T. Fleming, his wife Sue, sons Jack and Andrew and two family friends were believed to be aboard, family friends said.
The Cessna Citation 525 left Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Thursday after a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game. About 11:30 p.m. Thursday, air traffic control notified the Coast Guard the aircraft disappeared from radar, about two miles into Lake Erie. The aircraft was headed to Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, officials said.
"The decision to suspend a search is never easy," Coast Guard Capt. Michael Mullen said in a statement. "I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who lost loved ones during this tragedy."